Manuel, who joined the first cycle of the Tyra Banks model reality competition as creative director and stuck around before deciding to exit after Cycle 18, recalled being uncomfortable when Banks told a gay contestant to downplay their sexuality or when the show did its controversial race-swapping photo shoot. He wants to make it clear that Banks and executive producer Ken Mok were behind the creative decisions, not the rest of the team. Manuel is releasing the novel titled The Wig, The Bitch & The Meltdown on Aug. 3 with fictional characters inspired by his ANTM experience. Manuel spoke to Variety following Banks making headlines last week after apologizing for her past behavior in recently dredged up clips on Twitter. "I do think it’s a little unfair for people to persecute Tyra now, especially because she has already taken heat for her past executive decisions in past years," he says. "However, I can’t really defend her either because when ratings were high and things were great, she remained a clear figurehead, because it was her show. Consistently, when sh*t hit the fan and people wanted to talk about some of the things that were said on the show, we would have another singular EP come forward to claim that all creative decisions were made as the team, and I really wish that were the case, but that just simply is not true."